Updated 06/10/14: Read my latest post on A Value-for-Money Taiwan Porridge Buffet @ Crystal Cafe, Orchard Grand Court (Revisit).
Besides Quality Hotel (read my post on their porridge buffet here), Crystal Cafe at Killiney Road is another Taiwan porridge place worth visiting. It is an unpretentious cafe with no contemporary decor compared to other restaurants in the heart of Orchard. This restaurant looks rather old-fashioned which is probably why they have managed to preserve pocket-friendly prices for their porridge buffet.
Taiwan porridge buffet is served here daily for both lunch and dinner.
Mon-Thu (Lunch/Dinner) and Fri (Lunch)
Fri (Dinner), PH Eve (Dinner) and Sat/Sun/PH (Lunch/Dinner)
Weekend and public holiday surcharge is only $2 from the usual non-peak price. What a steal, really.
Sweet potato porridge is served here. The variety of food on the buffet line is not as huge as that of Quality Hotel’s but some of their dishes are superior in taste. I particularly like the hae bee hiam (spicy dried shrimps), bittergourd in black bean sauce (doesn’t taste bitter at all) and pig trotters (plenty of meat and collagen!). The braising sauce for the chicken feet, pig trotters, stewed pork, braised eggs and beancurd skin (tau kee) is one of the best ones around (besides my grandmother’s of course).
All dishes here are truly food that makes the best accompaniments with the plain porridge as their flavours are salty and robust. I also like their choice of vegetables i.e. preserved mustard green, sugar snap peas and hairy gourd with dried shrimps that are packed with a nice tender crunch. Even the curry chicken is rich and flavourful (though oily). The only thing that I didn’t fancy was their fried smelt (locally known as ‘sua chiam’) that was left out too long and was soft and greasy. And how can we miss the usual condiments of salted egg, fried anchovies (ikan bilis), braised peanuts and our all time favourite fermented beancurd? These never go wrong with porridge!
The buffet also includes hot & cold desserts like almond jelly with longans, durian pengat, green bean soup, a small selection of assorted cakes & pastries, fresh fruits, coffee and tea. Desserts are nothing spectacular so I’d suggest not to leave room for them and just enjoy the wholesome porridge meal instead.
Will we be back? Of course. If you want a taste of traditional home-style cooking with hot, piping gruel then this is the place. But leave behind your high expectations because ingredients used are mediocre but the dishes are good enough to comfort our tummies.
Crystal Cafe, Orchard Grand Court
131 Killiney Road
Tel: 6830 2020
Opens: 12.00pm to 2.30pm (lunch), 6.00pm to 10.00pm (dinner) daily